28 04 2010

There are times and places that intersect perfectly and produce beauty in its purest sense. Last night, walking the shore of the Atlantic Ocean at dusk while a gentle yet forceful breeze refreshed the air was one of those times. Beautiful. One of the blessings of living on the coast or the mountains is the increased probability that you are there and enjoying the view when those moments occur. We consider ourselves blessed to have generous and hospitable friends who live in those areas and are willing to share the experience with us.

Looking up and down the shoreline I couldn’t help but think of the calculated risk involved in building your dream home a few yards from one of the most powerful forces in creation. It is calculated because our universe was designed with a very specific order and rhythm. This order allows us to know where the land begins and the ocean ends. Were it not for the ever-present rhythm that is manifest in our universe we would not be able to plant our crops with expectancy, build our house tantalizingly close to raw power, or know when to pack away our winter clothes (assuming we are fortunate enough to have “winter” clothes).

Yet, within this order there is the reality of “orderly destruction.” Hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis, wildfires, avalanches, and earthquakes are all examples of this “orderly destruction.”

There is a reason we have “Hurricane season” and “Tornado alley.” While we may not have the specificity we prefer; we do have an awareness of the imminent danger. We would be surprised by a hurricane in Florida in the middle of February. A tornado in Vail, Co would leave many scratching their heads. At the same time; we aren’t surprised at all by a hurricane in New Orleans or a Tornado in Kansas. This is because there is order in our universe and that includes the “orderly destruction.”

So what? Why in the world-wide web am I waxing meteorological?

Because God exists and God is good.

It is often brought up that the existence of natural disasters in close proximity to human beings proves that a loving, all-powerful God does not exist. Have you ever thought along those lines? You may not have doubted God’s existence but you may have doubted God? Maybe you thought, “Where were you God?” or “God, why did you let that happen?” Are those really the right questions?

First, let me point out that we don’t get upset about the dead dogs, alligators, and billy goats that are victims of these “orderly destructions.” We aren’t selling T-shirts and getting on “idol gives back” to save the livestock in Haiti. Why? My thought is this, deep down inside we all believe that human beings have intrinsic worth. We know in our heart of hearts that a babbling 1-year-old boy is of significantly greater value than a fly larvae. This simple yet glorious truth is evidence of God’s existence.

But, more to my point today; why do we question God when the Earth is simply doing exactly what we expect it to do? Listen, I have close friends who had their lives “flip turned upside down” because of Katrina and I in no way, shape, or form mean to devalue the pain of theirs or anyone elses experience with these “orderly destructions.” But, I do want to point out that they were no more surprised by Katrina than anyone else.

If you live in Kansas, you will experience tornados. If you live in Vail, you will feel the bitter wrath of a blizzard. If you want the beautiful moment of a sunset on the coast you will also have a hurricane evacuation plan. It comes with the territory. It comes with the knowledge that our Earth is orderly and that there are “orderly destructions.”

We warn our children to stay away from the edge of pools, to avoid playing in the road, and to keep their fingers away from hot stoves. Why? Because there is inherent danger there. It is still a tragedy when someone gets hurt in one of those situations but it isn’t an inconsistency. We don’t expect God to miraculously make the water solid, change the molecular structure of the cars into that of clouds, or turn the burner cold.

In fact the reverse is true.

How truly perilous would our existence be if we had to worry about hurricanes in Iowa or blizzards in Miami. What if red only meant stop… sometimes? What if cars did sometimes become matter we can pass through? I would officially be in the “angry with God” camp if this were the case.

But it isn’t. My sister live in Colorado and knows of the risk… but the beauty and climate are worth it. I live in Florida and am aware of the risk… but there are reasons it is worth it. I don’t know why anyone would live in Kansas. But, I do have friends in California who gladly accept the blessings right along side the potential for fire and earthquakes.

My encouragement is this. Instead of doubting God’s existence or getting angry with Him; what if we simply let our selves be awed by His awesome power? What if we asked ourselves what we can learn from the situation? What if we appreciated the order in our world and praised God in the storm that we knew would probably happen?

We should still grieve, because human beings are valuable and losing them hurts.
We should still offer assistance because the cities have been decimated and we are called to love one another.
But, we shouldn’t shake our fist at God.

We should thank Him for the order that exists. Praise Him for providing the information necessary to be wise.

God does in fact exist. He is most assuredly good. In beautiful sunsets and awesome tornados, God is good.




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